Shannon Miller case proceeds, trial dates set

This article has been edited to correct an error in the outcome of the hearing.

 Shannon Miller, former UMD women's hockey coach of 16 years. Photo courtesy of the UMD athletic department.

Shannon Miller, former UMD women's hockey coach of 16 years. Photo courtesy of the UMD athletic department.

Shannon Miller, former UMD women’s hockey coach, is persisting in her lawsuit against the University of Minnesota after alleging discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender, national origin, and age after the university did not renew her contract following the 2014-2015 season.

Trial dates have been set for March of 2018. Judge Patrick J. Schlitz, Duluth native, set the dates following oral arguments against a summary judgment motion on Monday, Oct. 30 in Minneapolis. This was Judge Schlitz’s first time presiding over the case.

Miller coached the Bulldogs to the national championship five times in her career, and had held her position as head coach for 16 years.

“We’ve been waiting a long time, so that’s a big win for us,” Miller says. “Hopefully he’ll rule in that exact same way for Banford and Wiles.”

Joining Miller in the lawsuit against the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota are Jen Banford and Annette Wiles, former UMD coaches. Banford, former director of women’s hockey operations and head softball coach, did not have her contract renewed two days later. Wiles resigned as head basketball coach “as a result of the hostile environment, inequity, and discrimination that she experienced in UMD’s athletics department”, according to a press release.

“We continue to deny the claims of discrimination and are prepared to defend ourselves throughout the legal process,” says Lynne Williams, director of UMD Marketing and Public Relations. “We intend to prove our case that the University acted lawfully for legitimate reasons at all times.”

Many of the claims in Miller’s suit lacked enough evidence to proceed, which could result in the judge granting parts of the university’s summary judgment motion.

*This story was republished to include quotes from the university.

 Miller coaching UMD women's hockey prior to the university's decision to terminate her contract. Photo courtesy of the UMD athletic department.

Miller coaching UMD women's hockey prior to the university's decision to terminate her contract. Photo courtesy of the UMD athletic department.

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